3. Jared James Nichols || Five (or More) Questions With Tommy Black
Saturday, April 21st, 2018
“…Really when I hear Viper Room, man, I think of like an intimate, legit, fuckin’ real deal rock club…” -Jared James Nichols
Jared James Nichols: Tommy Black…
Tommy: Jared James Nichols…
Jared: How the fuck are you, brother??
Tommy: I’m good! How are you sir?
Jared: I’m good, man, I’m excited for tomorrow-
Tommy: I know-
Jared: – it’s going to be great to fucking see you. It’s been a very long time, dude.
Tommy: It’s gonna be good. We call it Five or More Questions with Tommy. And…
Tommy: Jared, when’s the (Jared interjects, “yes”) last time you played The Viper Room?
Jared: Dude, it’s been so many moons I can’t remember. It’s gotta be at least two, two and a half years ago. I believe? I mean, man, the Viper was the first place we played in L.A. Then we went and started touring all over Europe, and doing all these support (?) tours in America and Canada. And here we are, 2018, back at The Viper Room. I’m beyond excited to get back, man. It feels, it feels like I’m kinda returning back to my L.A. home base, you know what I mean?
Tommy: Well, yeah, exactly. Correct me if I’m wrong, you hooked up with Phil from Swinghouse, and kind of started playing Viper a lot, when things started picking up more for you a bit? Or am I wrong here? Or was it-
Jared: Oh, no, absolutely. The Viper was – that was the launching point for me man. You know. It started very organically we just played there, I remember it was the Monday night slot. And we played there, and one thing led to another, and every time we played The Viper it got better and better.
Tommy: I remember.
Jared: It was funny because, yeah, it just – it just started to happen there. And that’s where, it was like the launching board for everything that was to come, you know?
Jared: I mean yeah, The Viper was the spot where we first found out, “this is… this is happening. We’re gonna do this.” You know what I mean?
Tommy: So cool. And you have – do you have the same band from that period?
Jared: I do… Actually, right now, we have a different bass player.
Jared: Greg Cash from Dorothy.
Jared: He’s playing bass now, (Tommy interjects another, “Cool.”), but yeah, I mean, same drummer. And, you know it was funny when we got booked on the show at The Viper, it was just like – we were all like, “Yes! Okay. This is great.” You know? There was no hesitation, there was no reservations obviously. It was just like, great, we’re going back. We’re playin’, you know? It’s amazing.
Tommy: Here’s an off question. Are you still (Jared interjects, “Yeah!”) wearing that necklace? You used to have this big, chunky silver necklace. And I see it in pictures- (Jared laughs)
Jared: Dude. I still have the – it’s called The Squash Blossom. (Tommy laughs) And yes, I STILL have it.
Tommy: What’s the-
Jared: You know what’s funny though, that thing’s so old, man, I haven’t really worn it onstage in a while ‘cause I go to crazy. One night we were playin’ we were in, um, I think we were in Sioux City, Iowa, and I had it on. And it SNAPPED. And the beads went everywhere.
Jared: So there, after the show, I’m sittin’ there with the housewives and I’m tryin’ to find all these old beads. And I was like, “Man, I don’t know if I can really bring this thing out anymore.” Ya know what I mean?
Jared: So, I still got the necklace though. Of COURSE, dude.
Tommy: Yeah, what-
Jared: You know what, since I’m comin’ to The Viper, man, I might have to bust it out, you know?
Tommy: YES, bust it out. Well, and – I don’t know or bring a – you know a copy of it or something. You don’t wanna lose silver beads all over The Viper Room. That’s not good – (Jared laughs) It’s a beautiful-
Jared: True, true-
Tommy: I remember that thing. It’s cool to know the story. It’s genius, like we haven’t ever had like a guitar clinic after soundcheck. That’s a good idea.
Tommy: You and Phil came up with that, I think? And that’s a great idea. How many people are gonna be there? What’s the deal with that?
Jared: Well, so, we’ve been (?putting?) meetings at our shows because, you know, I’ve been able to kind of get a little bit of more attention with like, (?) guitar players and stuff. So like, when we’re touring in England we’ll do them in London, and we’ll do them all over the place. It’s just really cool, it kinda gives a little bit more of an intimate experience. For anyone that’s comin’ to the shows, especially guitar players, so… We’re gonna have about thirty-five or forty kids there tomorrow. Well not KIDS, they gotta be over twenty-one. (laughs)
Jared: But, you know, so we’ll have about thirty-five or forty people there. And we’re just gonna run through, we’ll do a little bit of jamming, and talking if anyone has any questions you know. And it just kind of, you know it’s cool for everybody. ‘Cause you know a lot of the guys that come, it gives them a little bit more than just the show. It gives them something that, you know, is a little more in depth and on hand. So it’s cool.
Tommy: It’s a great idea. You got like KLOS ads, I saw some billboards sent to us. You guys are doin’ it right. You’ve gotten to open –
Jared: Yeah, man.
Tommy: Yeah, you’ve gotten to open for like, Lynard Skynryd and ZZ Top at this point. That’s amazing.
Jared: Yeah, yeah definitely.
Tommy: Well how was THAT?
Jared: Amazing, man, you know over the past – over – since we’ve been at The Viper, man, we’ve done – we did a world tour with Zakk Wylde. We did Skynryd, ZZ Top, UFO, Saxon, you know, Walter Trout – just a bunch of different names, man. The latest is we’re gonna go out with LA Guns for a little bit. You know but-
Jared: It’s amazing, you know, doing the Skynyrd thing and jammin’ with those guys. You know, it’s like pretty much hangin’ with your heroes, man. You know it’s like every night, it… it’s just like… you gotta kind of pinch yourself and go, “Is this really happening?” You know what I mean?
Jared: It’s like… it’s like the… the things that you see and you do and the people you’re hangin’ out with, you just gotta go, “Man, this is something really precious.” You know? Not take it for granted.
Jared: You know? For me it’s just… it’s just… makes it so much better. (Makes it worth it? He trails off)
Tommy: You gotta… you gotta enjoy the experience and the process. You’re exactly right. You’re like Zakk and Hendrix had a baby kind of. (laughs)
Jared: Yes, you – (catches the Zakk/Hendrix thing – laughs) Well that’s cool, man. I’ll take that.
Tommy: You know? That’s what I’m gettin’… Anyway–
Jared: That’s amazing, yeah-
Tommy: What else? I don’t know. I mean, I saw you playing this one- it’s just one humbucker. You’re getting’ a lot of sounds out of just one humbucker. Is that your thing always, or-
Jared: Yeah, well lately it is, man. Ya know, here’s a funny one, Tommy. The last time I played The Viper Room I borrowed a guitar from a friend who used to play in Aerosmith, Brit (Duvet?)
Jared: And he had a guitar with a single p9- or a single humbucker in it. And that was the first time I played one on stage, was the last time I played The Viper. And since then, it’s kind of like I kinda adopted it. And it’s kinda become my THING.
Jared: It’s kind of become like, you know, the way I approach guitar you know. So it’s like trying to get all the sounds out of something so simple. You know what I mean? It kind of harkens back to like a Les Paul, Jr., you know?
Jared: And guys like, ya know, anyone from ya know… Johnny Thunders to Leslie West. Guys that were just playing that (Viper office phone rings throughout this part) simple, it’s that simple straight-forward thing you know. And I’ve kind of taken it and tried to bring it… bring it in my way, you know. So, it’s kinda become my thing. And obviously I’ll have the single pickup Les Paul ready for tomorrow night.
Tommy: That’s awesome. That’s really cool.
Jared: Yeah, dude.
Tommy: Um, I like how the phone rings while you’re talking here. I’m here in the office at The Viper Room right now, sorry about that.
Jared: Oh no you’re good, man!
Tommy: Yeah, well hopefully it won’t ring again. If it does you’ll get to hear the call.
Tommy: I can’t unplug it, it’s hardwired… What do you think of when you hear the name Viper Room?
Jared: Really when I hear Viper Room, man, I think of like an intimate, legit, fuckin’ real deal rock club, you know. I think of a place where it’s like… when I think of Viper Room I think of like, truth, like – it’s literally a stage, a room, and it’s… you get what you put in, man. For me, ya know, when I think of Viper Room too, I think of me starting out to where I am now, and… I don’t know it’s like… I don’t know it’s kinda like home base in L.A., ya know? And obviously it’s got such a vibe, and it’s such a… and it’s such an image… that it’s part of kinda rock and roll. And it’s part of the whole thing. I mean, yeah, Viper Room is like, now it’s like, just as – dude, it’s as famous as rock and roll. You know? It’s like it’s just part of the scene.
Tommy: Wow. Well put. (laughs) Well thank you. We love you here-
Jared: Sure, man!
Tommy: Yeah. And lookin’ forward to seein’ ya tomorrow, Jared.
Jared: Alright, brother, I will see you tomorrow. I can’t wait.
Tommy: Take it easy. Thank you so much. Bye.
Jared: Alright. See ya, Tommy.
Five (or More) Questions with Tommy Black is produced by Joshua Chévere Cohen & Prickly Pear Marketing